From Thursday, the eagerly awaited Sharjah Safari, which claims to be the largest outside Africa, will welcome visitors for the first time. The sprawling wildlife attraction covers an area of eight square kilometres and is located in Al Bridi Nature Reserve in the city of Al Dhaid in Sharjah.
Sharjah Safari is home to more than 120 species, including rare animals native to Africa, the rarest of which will be the black rhinoceros. More than 1,000 native and African trees, including the umbrella-shaped Acacia tortilis, have been planted across the site.
Visitors will be able to experience the safari through 12 themed "environments", each representing a region in Africa, and the life and terrain of the animals and birds that live in them.
Initially scheduled to open in late 2021, the debut of the UAE's latest attraction was delayed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
What can you see at Sharjah Safari?
On opening day, visitors to Sharjah Safari will be able to see more than 1,000 animals and birds, including 70 species that are native to Africa. The black rhinoceros, considered one of the rarest animals, is one of the star attractions.
Another highlight is Wuhaida, the first female southern white rhino born in Sharjah Safari in August last year. Wahaida's birth is the result of the Safari's breeding programme, supported by the UN, that focuses on African native species.
In May 2017, five southern white rhinos joined Sharjah Safari from the African savannah, including three females and two males. The southern white rhino is primarily found in South Africa and continues to be in peril from poachers. First thought to be extinct as far back as 1895, the species is making something of a comeback, with its number now estimated to be in excess of 20,000.
Visitors will also be able to meet Bridi, the first African female giraffe born in Sharjah Safari. Bridi's parents arrived in Sharjah from South Africa in May 2017.
Bridi has been able to adapt rapidly to her surroundings and is already getting along with the herd of giraffes at the Sharjah Safari, her caretakers said.
What are the ticket prices for Sharjah Safari?
Various ticket categories are available for access to Sharjah Safari's 12 themed environments. Bronze tickets, which are inclusive of a two-to-three-hour walking tour to one environment, is Dh15 for children between the ages of 3 and 12, and Dh40 for those 12 years and over.
Silver tickets, with access to all environments except Serengeti, are Dh50 for children aged 3 and 12, and Dh120 for those 12 years and over. The ticket is inclusive of a seat on a bus and will last five to six hours.
Gold tickets will give visitors access to all environments and includes a ride in a luxury car as well as a private guide for a tour lasting five to six hours. Tickets are Dh120 for children aged 2 to 12 and Dh275 for those over 12.
Within the Gold category, a group of six people can also hire a luxury car with a guide for Dh1,500 or pay Dh2,250 for nine people or Dh3,500 for 12 people.
What are the opening hours of Sharjah Safari?
Sharjah Safari will be open daily from 8.30am until 6.30pm. Last entry is 2pm for Gold and Silver ticket holders and 4pm for those with Bronze tickets.
Where is Sharjah Safari?
Sharjah Safari is located within Al Bridi Nature Reserve, created by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah. Sheikh Dr Sultan issued a decree in 2018 prohibiting any form of activity that would damage or deteriorate the ecosystem and cause wildlife or maritime damage in the area. Al Bridi reserve is located in the oasis town of Al Dhaid, which is about 49 kilometres from the city of Sharjah.